Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Title: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
Author: Alison Bechdel
Pub Date: 2006
Pages: 232
Genre: graphic novel, memoir
Rating: 3/5

Bechdel creates a candid portrayal of her family life: fearlessly revealing all humorous idiosyncrasies and morbid compulsions.  Oh, and topped with a sprinkle of pretentious literary allusions.  

Bechdel's graphic novel, in ways, comes across as a cathartic remembrance of her dead father.  It opens with her as a young child and ends with her as a young child, her growing up and discovery of Family & Self all interwoven within the pages. She presents her child neuroses in matter of fact dialogues: her counting compulsion in elementary school, or the post-modern crisis where she believed that all creation is perspective (thus forcing her to include an "I think" prior to any written statement) in her teens. 

Her story is also interwoven with literary allusions, which seemed a bit overdone, and quite honestly took away from the story in many ways.  It struck me as a psychological defense mechanism -avoiding the messy feelings of such trying life moments by presenting your life as a comparative lit assignment. 

Fun Home was not terrible. It just lacked emotion for me, nor was I engaged enough with the author as much as I anticipated I would be.  


  1. Sorry to hear this one didn't work for you, Christina! I was actually quite moved by it, but I can see why not everyone would enjoy it.

  2. You know, I think overall the GN was daring - the author truly set aside all inhibitions, and I like how she didn't judge herself or her family members - at least not in a harping-on-the-couch-with-my-therapist way. It just felt too cerebral at times.

    But I'm glad to have stumbled upon graphic novels. Let me know if you ever have any further suggestions!

  3. That's interesting! Like Nymeth, I found it quite moving, probably because of the understatement. And I tend to think of my own life in literary allusions as well! lol I'm sure it's a defensive mechanism. ;)


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